England is to enter a new lockdown as of Wednesday morning as COVID-19 cases surge threating the country’s national Health Service (NHS).
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lockdown in a nationally televised address, Monday evening.
The new lockdown will see mass school closures (with many 2021 exams cancelled). They will include people only being allowed to leave home to perform certain jobs, to do food shopping and to do exercise in a local park. Nurseries will remain open and elite sport will continue.
Scotland had already announced a lockdown from midnight tonight with all schools to be closed throughout January. Schools in Wales will be closed until at least mid-January. Northern Ireland was placed into six-week lockdown on 26 December, which saw all but essential shops forced to close.
Medical experts have warned that without tough new measures the UK’s National Health Service could be overwhelmed in coming weeks.
The latest lockdown could be as tough as that in March last year when the UK was grappling with a frightening rise in cases.
The lock down comes as infection rates and hospital admissions soar, reportedly on the back of a new, more easily transmissible variant of the virus.
Monday saw an additional 58,784 coronavirus cases confirmed across the UK, the sixth day in a row that cases have surpassed 50,000. There were 407 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, taking the total by that measure to 75,431.
The UK is currently rolling out two different Covid vaccines and was the first country in the world to begin mass vaccinations.